Written by Susan Disston Thursday, 23 July 2015 00:00

According to Word Spy—the website that dubs itself the “word lover's guide to new words,”—a “do tank” is the action-oriented version of a think tank. The website quotes Harold Hubbard, VP of research at a small research firm, who allegedly responded to his company being called a “think tank” by saying “Not so! We’re a ‘do-tank,’ not a ‘think tank.’”

Think Do Tanks

BTS’s doctor of ministry program could make the same claim for its focus on being an action-oriented version of a think tank. By the end of their three to four years of study, DMin students complete a major applied research project that integrates the knowledge and skills learned in the DMin coursework with the analysis of a specific program, problem, or case in the student’s ministry. It provides the student with the opportunity to make a professional contribution to missional praxis in the student’s chosen context.

In June 2015, two DMin students completed their project dissertations and oral reviews. It was a privilege to see them hooded and awarded their degrees at Commencement a few weeks ago.

Here are the students’ projects and evidence of the significant contributions their projects make to missional praxis.


Written by Bryan Maier Tuesday, 21 July 2015 10:28

As our country careens further and further from the freedom and liberty of the American Revolution and lurches toward the anarchy of the French Revolution, these times can be very discouraging for those who want to be followers of Jesus. Evangelical Christians have enjoyed a home field advantage in the United States since the founding. But now the culture and even the laws are becoming more and more hostile to religious liberty in general and Christianity specifically. It can be disorienting to lose home court advantage, yet it should not be surprising. Our Christian brothers and sisters around the world are still paying a higher price for their faith than we are. We surely have little appreciation for what we had, but that is about to change.

Gay Marriage Debate

The prophet Jeremiah knew what it was like to lose home field advantage. When God called him to be a prophet, the righteous king Josiah was on the throne (1:2-3). While idolatry still persisted, the official god of Judah was the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Thus, Jeremiah could preach with freedom under the protection of a monarch who also desired a revival. However, after a misguided military campaign, Josiah was killed and his son was taken into exile, leaving the kingdom in the hands of another son, Jehoiakim, a ruler who “did evil in the sight of the Lord” (II Chron. 36:5). Suddenly it was no longer comfortable or safe to be a prophet of God.

Home field advantage had been lost.

How did Jeremiah respond?

I believe there are at least three lessons we can glean from how Jeremiah reacted when he lost home field advantage that can be of benefit to Evangelical church in America.


Written by Charles Zimmerman Tuesday, 14 July 2015 14:32

The call of the gospel is to get out of the bleachers and onto the track; to get out of the locker room and into the race.

Relay Race in the Bible
2 I will open my mouth with a parable;
I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
3 things we have heard and known,
things our ancestors have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their descendants;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
his power, and the wonders he has done.
5 He decreed statutes for Jacob
and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
to teach their children,
6 so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.
7 Then they would put their trust in God
and would not forget his deeds
but would keep his commands. (Psalm 78:2-7)

These verses from Psalm 78 read like a relay race. A relay race is different than an open race. In an open race, you essentially have one goal – to cross the finish line ahead of everybody else. One of my favorite races to watch – not run – is the 400 meter. It is an all-out sprint for one lap around the track; it’s kind of like running suicide.

The gun sounds, and off you all go, and if you cross the finish line ahead of everybody else and you didn’t break the rules along the way, you win the 400.

My favorite race of all is the 4X400-meter relay.

In a relay race, you run as part of a team. You don’t all run together; you run sequentially – one after the other. The first runner takes a baton and when the gun sounds, she takes off. When she finishes her lap, the race is not over, she then passes the baton to the second runner and she runs a lap and passes the baton to the third runner, who runs her lap and passes the baton to the fourth and final runner. The first team to cross the finish line having moved the baton around the track four times is the winner.


Written by Kyuboem Lee Thursday, 09 July 2015 10:55

Juxtaposed in my mind at the moment are at least three different impressions: the recent SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage, the astonishing response of Emanuel AME to the Charleston massacre, and the stories I heard at a recent gathering for Lausanne Movement. I am prone to refract my observations through the prism of global urban mission, so allow me to share a couple of thoughts from that vantage point.

SCOTUS Gay Marriage

One has to do with the North American evangelical church’s strategy in reaching the culture, which has been largely anti-urban. The SCOTUS ruling signaled what would appear to be a stunning victory for the LGBTQ community and sexual revolution, and a resounding defeat for the evangelical church and its agenda for traditional sexual mores. It is not my intention to enter into the fray of how one falls on which side of the line here. Nor do I wish to repeat the observation that should by now be all too obvious—USA is not the homeland of Christendom; it is a mission field. For my present purposes, I simply want to point out that a vital strand in the narrative of the LGBTQ activists’ success, which may go unnoticed, has been their strategic focus on cities, coupled with a long history of the evangelical church’s abandonment of cities.


Written by Chang Hoon Oh Tuesday, 07 July 2015 16:39

America’s Declaration of Independence is as much a declaration of dependence on Divine Providence. So, we must always declare our dependency on the one true and living God, the Father Almighty, and the Sovereign King. Then how can we do that?

Independence Day

It is through “faith.” When I meditated on a Bible verse “Without faith it is impossible to please God,” a thought came into my mind that the negative is often the simplest way of suggesting the positive.

If it is impossible to please God without faith, the opposite is also true that faith is what pleases God. If I am warned that without faith it is impossible to please God, I can infer that with faith it is possible to please God. So, I would like to clarify what ‘‘faith” means to live by faith on a daily basis. It can be summarized with an acrostic, FAITH.

Familiarize God and His Word

I believe that the first thing in faith is knowledge. A man cannot believe what he/she does not know. Besides, he/she must also agree with what he/she knows. So, in order to act on faith, it is necessary that I should not only read the Scriptures and understand them, but also receive them in my soul as being the very truth of the living God.


Written by David Lamb Thursday, 25 June 2015 13:29

The faculty of Biblical Theological Seminary (BTS) went on a tour in North Philly recently to visit the area that surrounds our Hunting Park extension site. You will never guess what we found there.

Bikes and Art

We were surrounded on all sides by walls covered with art created by local kids as Lauren Fisher of Orange Korner Arts, described how they were teaching, training, and raising up the next generation of young artists in the Hunting Park area of North Philadelphia. My favorite section was the impressive wall of super-heroes, but I was curious about the back section which included art made from bicycles.

While we were listening to Dan Helms of Simple Cycle explain how they sell bikes, train residents in bike repair, and reward kids who diligently work on repairs with free bikes, a group of five boys busted through the doorway, needing parts and guidance. Bikes that can’t be made useful as forms of transportation become recycled into forms of art.

BTS board member Susan Post took us on a tour of Esperanza Wellness Center, which caters to all the health needs of Hunting Park residents. The center includes a committed group of administrators, nurses, and physicians, but since it isn’t just a health clinic. They are focused on providing for a much broader array of wellness needs with, among other things, classrooms, an exercise room, and a cafeteria which serves healthy meals.

Why were we doing this?


Written by Derek Cooper Friday, 19 June 2015 10:49

Who says you can’t go medieval in Philadelphia? Last Saturday, I took our World Christian History II class on a medieval field trip to the City of Brotherly Love.

Medieval Church Philly

The field trip was dedicated to all things medieval.

First, the class received a guided tour of medieval manuscripts at the Free Library of Museum. All writings in the Middle Ages — including the Bible, of course — were painstakingly written by hand, often by monks. Many of these manuscripts were illuminated with beautiful calligraphy, bright colors, and stunning illustrations. Students saw Bibles and other Christian writings that were copied by hand from around the 1100s to the 1600s.


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